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Text: Yan Yan
Self-proclaimed skin care addict Oskar has spent the better part of the past decade trying every treatment, product, potion, and lotion out there to make his skin dewy, glowing, healthy and radiant. To say he is an expert on skin and skin care is an understatement. At Swiss Clinic, we consider him a friend, he uses our treatments regularly, and we like to consult him when it comes to sharing knowledge. In a recent discussion, we asked his opinion on which products and treatments he feels truly make a difference to a daily routine. Here is what he had to say:
“As you know, I am a skin care junkie.” Oskar begins. He goes on to say that “This means that I probably spend more time on my routines than most, for me it’s a ritual, like a form of therapy or self-indulgence. If you are that way inclined, I have a list of cleansing, rehydrating, and moisturising treatments as long as my arm that I can recommend. But I realise that most people struggle to spend as much time and energy as I do on my skin.”
He continues “You might have heard the quote ‘There are no shortcuts, in life or in love.’, which I would usually agree with, but, in skin care I would argue that there almost is. The little magical bottles known as serums. When you don’t have the time, energy, or funds to do treatment after treatment, these ultra-potent potions, applied to your skin after cleansing but before moisturising are capable of delivering powerful ingredients directly into the skin in a way creams and lotions can’t.”
Wanting to find out more, we fired a few questions his way.
Put simply, it’s a product you apply to your skin after cleansing but before moisturizing. The point of the exercise is to inundate the layers of the dermis with active ingredients, which is possible thanks to the fact that a serum is made up of smaller molecules than other creams.
Yes and no. Serums are often packed full of moisturising ingredients (hyaluronic acids, ceramides etc) to enable the skin retain to moisture. However, that doesn't make them moisturisers per se, you still need a face lotion or cream, applied over the serum, to ‘lock in’ the goodness by creating a topical barrier.
This is trickier. Strictly speaking, serums are water based, whilst a face oil is, well, oil. However, as face oils have become more and more popular over the past decade, many are marketed as serums. As I was saying earlier, the key to any serum penetrating the layers of the skin is down to molecule size, and oil based serums tend to have bigger molecules, so need to be applied over water based products (most creams) to do their job. As for essences, they can be considered a type of serum, but are typically of a thinner, more of a tonic-like consistency¨
The price tag on a tiny bottle of serum can certainly be eye watering at first glance, but if you look at the concentration of active ingredients, and therefore the tiny amount you need, the cost per use usually works out to be very reasonable.
How long is a piece of string? Like any skin care product or treatment, it depends on what you are trying to achieve, and your skin type. Have a look at the ingredients of a serum (or rather the benefits it will deliver if you are not as obsessed with the science as I am). Hyaluronic acids are always good, as are any other ingredients that support the body’s natural ability to produce collagen as this will always boost the appearance of the skin. If you have a specific concern, do some research, for acne-prone skin for example, salicylic acid will help unclog pores.
Oskar lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Encouraged by his friends and family, he has recently launched an Instagram account where he shares experiences, tips and ideas pertaining to all things skin care. Follow him – @maskingmylifeaway – he is giving away a Swiss Clinic Serum of choice to a lucky winner. All you need to do is follow him and @swissclinic before May 1, 2018. The winner will be chosen at random